Words are gifts. Giving words to your children is a great gift. Spending 5 minutes each day with a couple of new words, or old words used in different ways, is enough to get your kids recognizing, thinking, sharing, understanding and USING words in both speaking and writing.
As a former high school English/Reading teacher, I know that some kids (ok, maybe more than some) don’t see words in the same great light and spirit, but with enough persistence, fun and repetition, kids will actually begin to use new words in their writing. Writing is where kids seem to feel safe, where personality and a bit of daring and flair emerge. Picture this: Your child’s teacher is sitting at home in the late afternoon or evening, reading homework sentences, paragraphs, essays or reports. There’s a great deal of sameness to the writing… but then a sentence dances with a new word, a descriptive word, a word that leaps off the page. I will tell you from first-hand experience that the teacher will smile, perhaps even leave a little comment, and definitely remember the student who dared to dazzle with a word.
Even very young children, ones just beginning to read and write, internalize words. All you have to do is offer words, take a few moments to talk about words… and use new words as often as you can squeeze them in.
So… let’s add 2 more ADJECTIVES to our growing list of 56 Adjectives in February:
1. defiant – marked by resistance to authority; disobedient. What to love about this word? defiant sounds bad. Kids love words that describe bad. You won’t hear the word defiant said in a flowery way. But the interesting thing about the word defiant is that it actually is used to describe good, too. Offering a word to a child that can be used to describe opposites makes the word easier to grasp. Examples: a) The defiant child refused to come inside from recess; b) The girl’s defiant attitude against the bully gave courage to the other children. Talk to your children about the word defiant. Discuss when it is good and when it’s not-so-good to be described as defiant. Talk about examples of being defiant. Use the word. Read the newspaper and watch the news with your children. Find newsworthy examples of the word defiant. What are some other words for defiant?
2. drowsy – sleepy; heavy with sleepiness; causing sleepiness. What to love about this word? The word drowsy comes from the word drusian, which means to sink or drop low. Kids love the origins of words, and this sinking, dropping origin is so visual that it’s easy to remember. drowsy. Can’t you just see someone or something sinking, dropping low? Kids will, too! drowsy a great substitute for sleepy or tired. Use the word. Have fun with the word. Find things that are drowsy… people, animals, eyes, flowers, flags. Use your imaginations! Kids also love to see words that they’ve bumped into before, and drowsy is one of them, found in the first lines of the poem Full Moon on Day 19 of 365 Days of Literacy for Kids:
One night as Dick lay fast asleep,
Into his drowsy eyes
A great still light began to creep
From out the silent skies.
defiant. drowsy. Introduce your children to these adjectives. Use them in your speaking. Encourage your children to use them in their writing. Find them in your reading. Use and Repeat! Words are Gifts. Remember that LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.